AP NEWS

Woman, homeless man in GoFundMe scheme plead guilty

March 6, 2019
FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2018 file pool photo, Johnny Bobbitt stands during a hearing at Burlington County Courthouse in Mount Holly, N.J. Bobbitt, a homeless man charged with engaging in a GoFundMe scheme, pleaded guilty in federal court in in Camden, N.J., Wednesday, March 6, 2019, to conspiracy to commit money laundering. (David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool, File)

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — A homeless man and a woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges in a GoFundMe scheme that prosecutors say netted $400,000 with a phony story about him coming to her aid.

Johnny Bobbitt, 36, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, and Katelyn McClure, 28, of Bordentown, New Jersey, pleaded to a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Bobbitt conspired with McClure and her then-boyfriend Mark D’Amico to make up a story in 2017 about Bobbitt giving McClure cash for gas when she was stranded along a Philadelphia highway, according to prosecutors.

The scheme raised $400,000, which the couple claimed would be donated to Bobbitt. Instead, New Jersey authorities said, the three split the money and spent lavishly, including on a car, designer bags, and trips to Las Vegas, Disneyland, Disney World, the Grand Canyon and New York City. GoFundMe says it has refunded all the donations.

The tale of a homeless good Samaritan made international headlines, with the trio appearing on TV. Their relationship soured, though, when Bobbitt sued the couple over what he said was their failure to turn money over to him.

New Jersey prosecutors said the suit led them to start an investigation, including hauling away a BMW they determined was purchased with the funds at the New Jersey home where McClure and D’Amico were living at the time.

All three still face charges in state court. D’Amico’s attorney, Mark Davis, says his client denies any wrongdoing and has not been charged by federal authorities.